For some, the brilliant thing about being very wealthy isn’t the thrill of accumulating as much property as possible. It’s the joy of being able to rid yourself of the shackles of property ownership (expenses, hassles, security, keep returning to the same place) and, instead, enjoy the world’s most luxurious homes whenever and wherever the mood takes you.
To the super rich, renting a luxury holiday home must be similar to the way that favorite, childless aunts describe their adoring young nieces and nephews: they love them dearly, but can’t wait to hand them back at the end of the day!
That’s why so many of them end up living in 5-star hotels. And it’s not a dissimilar service on offer in the world’s most luxurious holiday villas which, in their bid to compete for the affections of the super rich, are offering ever more lavish services and perks.
At Chalet Spa Verbier, available to rent from CHF30,000 – CHF50,000 (approx. £23,000-£39,000) a week, guests have a team of managers, chefs, housekeepers and spa therapists at their disposal in one of the most luxurious chalets in the Swiss Alps.
For an additional fee, a variety of lifestyle add-ons that include access to super yachts, private planes, sports cars and even rare antique violins.
Its English owner, Andy Turner, scoured the Alps to create something special, primarily (as he also sometimes holidays there himself) to attract super-rich renters, in summer as much as peak snowy winter. “July and August are always fully booked. I can cover my annual running costs from summer rentals alone,” says Turner, whose first ever client took it for five weeks. Another holidayed there with six round-the-clock bodyguards.
Like many owners of this summer’s most opulent rental properties, Turner also has the house up for sale, with a price tag of CHF19.9m (£15.6m) through Savills.
It’s a trend that Robert Green, director of Sphere Estates, has spotted. “Owners of these high-end properties know they will take a year or two to sell, so renting them out can provide helpful revenue during the marketing period while bringing potential buyers to the property. Renters can experience the lifestyle benefits and this can lead to them making an offer,” says Green, who is marketing Villa Cassedda in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo, a firm fixture on the super-rich’s summer holiday radar. The five-bedroom villa is priced at €7.4m to buy, or you can rent it for up to €30,000 a week in peak season.
Similarly, available to potentially try before you buy is Sa Quinta, one of the finest estates in Deia in northern Mallorca. The six-bedroom house, set among 28 acres of gardens and olive trees, is on sale for €23m and available to rent for €27,000 a week this summer through Charles Marlow, who can organize a huge array of entertainment from painting lessons with a local artist to yachts, planes and full party organization.
Routinely returning to the same place isn’t an issue for Lady Annabel Goldsmith, who has regularly rented Torre de Tramores, a fully-staffed Andalucian estate set on 600 hectares near Benahavis, with her family since 1985. The property hosts 22 persons and is available for up to €29,500 a week through The Villa Collective, a new company that specializes in luxury villa rentals.
“What villas like Los Tramores need is exposure, which is why I decided to launch The Villa Collective,” says founder Nick Cookson, who claims his is the first company to offer “a curated collection” of exclusively high-end villas and to connect holidaymakers directly with the villa owner or, more likely, their team.
“These properties are better equipped and more efficiently run than ever, with savvier owners and a new generation of expatriate house managers who understand the needs of paying guests. By booking direct, guests can draw off the intricate local knowledge of the owner or house manager,” says Cook.
Wealthy holidaymakers want the privacy a villa offers over a hotel, but with hotel-like services. “Cugo Gran in Menorca is an extreme example of this,” says Cook of the 11-bedroom house on a 250-acre private estate that rents out for up to €70,000 a week in summer. “The in-house team includes a house manager, assistant manager, events coordinator, professional chefs, qualified butlers, hostesses and housemaids, providing a private concierge service to take care of guests’ every need.”
While Greece’s property market is on the skids, its top-end villa rentals continue to lure the super-rich. In Corfu, Villa Yeraki, also from The Villa Collective for €10,000-€30,000 a week, has a private jetty for five speed boats. “Few villas offer such effortless access to the sea,” says Cook.
Corfu has to compete with Mykonos, though, which has become the new fashionable destination among “jet-setters and celebrities, many of whom consider Ibiza and St Tropez to be passé,” says Roi Deldimou from Beauchamp Estates in Mykonos. He mentions that Leonardo di Caprio has just been holidaying on the island.
Among Deldimou’s properties on Mykonos is the 16-bedroom Villa Grande, available for €77,000 a week in summer. “It’s not the most expensive villa we have, but we aren’t able to disclose rates for some of the most exclusive ones,” he says. One such property is Villa Royal, a modern, elegant villa made from steel, wood and stone that hosts 14 persons and is resolutely price on application.
Certain locations barely need to go big on the bling to attract wealthy renters. In Venice, for example, you won’t get color-changing swimming pools or in-house masseuses if you rent Marchesa Grand Canal for up to around €18,000 a week.
But you will get the piano nobile apartment of one of the most important palaces on the Grand Canal.
The 200 square meters grand saloon has views of the Accademia Bridge, and the restored 18th-century interiors include rococo and neo-classical stucco work depicting scenes from classical mythology. The furnishings include 18th-century sofas admired by Wagner, the composer, who was a regular visitor.
If name-dropping works for you, then how about a house in St Tropez personally designed by Giorgio Armani. The Italian designer was commissioned to create the house from bare plot to fully interior-designed finished residence, including the swimming pool with movable floor, Brazilian marble bathrooms, the minimalist kitchen and bespoke silk-upholstered furniture. This is the first year that Villa Armani Casa has been available to rent in summer, priced at €160,000 a month through H. Barnes & Co’s St Tropez affiliate, Alexandra Connolly.
And if unlike those adorable nieces you can’t bear to hand these properties back once the holiday’s over, you never know who might be up for an offer.
Zoe Dare Hall / The Telegraph /
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